By Derek Bonnett. Brandon Rios’ unbeaten record held diminished value after the boxing
world watched him box lethargically against Richard Abril last April in a
bout most observers felt he lost lopsidedly. Rios won an unpopular
decision and quickly announced his long anticipated move to 140-pounds.
Even though Rios, 26, remained unbeaten, the tough-man from Oxnard,
California was placed in a position where he needed to seek redemption
against a world class opponent to make his fans forget his bad moments
against Abril. Mike Alvarado, a free-swinging slugger whose stock has
steadily risen as he proved his entertainment value in the sport against
Breidis Prescott and Mauricio Herrera, held a legitimately undefeated
record in his professional campaign, but fittingly fell into the role of
the underdog for their clash at the Home Depot Center in Carson.
Many experts predicted a fight of the year candidate in the mold of
Gatti-Ward I. This writer saw something special as well, but predicted
something more in the dimension of Ruelas-Gatti, which achieved the same
honor. In terms of similarity, I think I was the more accurate in my
pick as the favored fighter fell behind early and was forced to conjure a
victory pushing even his insurmountable will to its limits. That
fighter being Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios.
Boxing fans are familiar with phone booth warfare, but the
Alvarado-Rios bout could have been contested in a picnic basket. The
first six minutes set the tone of the evening as the fighters fought on
near even terms administering a give and take assault worthy of round of
the year honors twice over. After two rounds, my SecondsOut scorecard
had the fight even 20-20 with both rounds even! Alvarado, 32, boxed more
steadily behind his jab, but landed well with his power-shots. Rios
bypassed the set-up shots and waded straight in for an inside attack to
the body and head. Both fighters had their heads turned, but neither
asserted his will over the other.
Alvarado began to create some distance on the scorecards and inside
of the ropes in the third. His boxing improved as he continued to use an
educated jab and control more of the round on the outside. Make no
mistake, Alvarado still use the jab as a set-up for his bombs. This game
adjustment allowed him to pulled ahead of Rios in punch connects by a
margin of 75 to 49 after three rounds. The fourth round resembled the
first two as Rios edged himself back into near even effectiveness with
his punching. His set-up up though was his use of his chin as defense to
work his way inside on Alvarado. Exciting? Yes. However, after four,
Alvarado went up 40-38 on SecondsOut’s tally.
The fifth looked like a bad round for Rios as Alvarado snapped his
head back four times with consecutive power shots. Bam Bam never
relented or looked unsteady on his feet and, in retrospect, this might
have been where the tide turned in favor of Rios in spite of losing the
round. Rios began the sixth round with greater confidence and "veto
stamped" everything Alvarado had to offer with a barrage of wild shots,
some landing, some not. In the closing seconds of the round Alvarado was
stopped in his tracks, if not stunned.
The end came at 1:57 of the seventh round as an energized Rios waded
in for war, rocking Alvarado with an onslaught of short punches.
Alvarado never went down and kept his hands ready for cover, but referee
Pat Russell had seen enough and stopped the contest without much
protest throughout the arena. Rios enhanced his ring credentials to
31-0-1 (23). Alvarado tasted of defeat for the first time and dipped to
Amid numerous expletives, Rios acknowledge that a rematch was
certainly an interest of his as long as the fans and promotional
companies were interested. Redemption was certainly Rios’ as he stepped
up in weight to score a KO in 2012’s most grueling battle.
For further boxing discussion, contact Derek DBO Bonnett on Facebook or at email@example.com
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